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Mental health crisis response teams showing success in Penticton

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Penticton recently introduced a program that pairs police officers with mental health experts, and the initial reports are showing success.

The Integrated Crisis Teams, also known as CAR 40, exist in several communities throughout B.C., but it has been up and running in Penticton for about three months, according to a press release from the City of Penticton.

The crisis teams are meant to handle calls about people going through a mental health crisis and direct them to services that will help them.

“Although the Integrated Crisis Response Team has only been up and running for three months, the initial reports have given us reason to believe it is a complete success. Data collection revealed that since January 2024, there have been 300 interactions which include client contacts where meaningful interactions were had, resources were provided, partner meetings and or other outreach was conducted,” Penticton RCMP Supt. Beth McAndie said in the release.

The data shows there has been an increase in sex crimes and domestic violence, but Supt. McAndie said there are factors to consider when looking at the numbers.

READ MORE: Program that pairs cops with health-care providers coming to Penticton, Vernon

“The creation of the Penticton RCMP’s Special Victims Unit in 2019 improved relationships and collaboration with the South Okanagan Women in Need Society, an increase in training and engagement with youth resulting in an improvement in supporting victims of sexual violence, leading to an increase in reporting to police,” she said. “In the province of B.C. from 2020 to 2024 there was a significant increase in reported incidents involving the accessing, possession and distribution of child sexual abuse material. These increases were observed locally and are reflected in the statistics.”

Property crime report numbers, including bike theft, have increased by 23 per cent, but again Supt. McAndie said there are mitigating factors.

READ MORE: Mental health crisis response team up and running in Penticton

“Bicycle thefts are often reported in this quarter due to the transition from fall to spring, the theft often occurring sometime between when the bike was stored in the fall and not being noticed as missing until the spring. Other bike thefts frequently occur outside the owner's residence, unsecured in the yard,” Supt. McAndie said.

Penticton RCMP have plans to introduce a new method for the Repeat Offender Management program and a pilot of an Inadmissible Patron Program for some licenced establishments and hotels.


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